Letters

August 8, 2005

Your June 20 article on hypertension referred to "serum rennin." Renin is spelled incorrectly. Rennin, with two ns, is "an enzyme that catalyzes the coagulation of milk, found in the gastric juice of the fourth stomach of young ruminants and used in making cheeses and junkets." Renin (one n) is "a proteinase of high specificity that is released by the kidney and acts to raise blood pressure by activating angiotensin."

Because I recently used the word renin in a paper for a client, when I saw the double n in your article, I thought I had made a spelling error. I had not. Otherwise, your article was extremely well done.

Tom Keller tkeller@att.net

Your June 20 article, and its headline, "Pharmacists called a barrier to emergency contraception," intrigued me. But I was taken aback by comments from Dr. Espy. She has my support for her right to her opinion and her freedom to express it, but I cannot support her advocacy of illegal activities.

For her to state that "...emergency contraception is almost trivial..." and "I tell my patients that even if they don't need it, they can always give it to a girlfriend at her need" trivializes the profession of medicine and advocates that patients practice medicine and dispense medications without a license. To my knowledge, these would be considered felonies, not to mention the fact that they may also include insurance fraud.

Often I have been asked to identify medications-most commonly Vicodin and ibuprofen-found by parents of young women. I advise the parents to speak to their children. They probably were given the medicine by some well-meaning high school friend for their problem cycle. Would this also be considered appropriate behavior?

When any drug or medicine is deemed to require a prescription, due consideration is necessary. This includes the assessment by the appropriate clinician.

Dr. Espy also stated, "Is it really the role of the pharmacist to dispense morality?" I may be only a pharmacist, but until all patients can practice medicine without a license-dispense or purchase any and all medications without an appropriate Rx-the law is still the law, and all should be held accountable to it. Or does Dr. Espy feel that this, too, is "dispensing morality?"

Kenneth E. Searles, Pharm.D.
Past president
Nevada Pharmacist Association
drsearles@yahoo.com

Another view on color bands

After reading your May 16 article on the new Target bottles with the colored bands, I ask myself if anyone realizes the implications of this nonsense? Instead of streamlining our prescription processing procedure, we now have a graphics designer who never worked a day in a pharmacy adding another burden to our already overworked and understaffed pharmacy.

Think about this: When Mrs. Smith drops off her prescription, we will have to ask what color band she would prefer, explain the purpose of the band and the color choices available, and enter the information into the patient profile. Now not only will pharmacists have to make sure the prescription is filled for the right drug, strength, directions, label, etc., they must make sure the bottle has the correct color band. Just think of the newest dispensing error when Mrs. Smith's daughter is given Mr. Smith's alpha blocker because it had the wrong color band on it (despite being labeled and filled correctly in all other aspects). Looks like the bull's-eye target is located right on the pharmacist's forehead.

Name withheld upon request

Public health and pharmacy

I was recently thrilled to read your March 7 article entitled "Public health: A new priority at pharmacy schools." I think your article touched on two key issues related to this topic: pharmacists' knowledge and accessibility and the need to demystify the meaning of public health. As someone who has experienced the worlds of both pharmacy and public health, I think you did an excellent job capturing the challenges and potentially exciting opportunities that lie ahead if the pharmacy profession continues to embrace the concept of public health.

Jennifer Fulmer Groves, R.Ph., M.P.H.
Massilon, Ohio
grovesj@ccf.org

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